A bond is a fixed obligation to pay that is issued by a corporation or government entity to investors. Bonds are used to raise cash for operational or infrastructure projects. Bonds usually include a periodic coupon payment, and are paid off as of a specific maturity date. There are a number of additional features that a bond may have, such as being convertible into the stock of the issuer, or callable prior to its maturity date.

A bond may be registered, which means that the issuer maintains a list of owners of each bond. The issuer then periodically sends interest payments, as well as the final principal payment, to the investor of record. It may also be a coupon bond, for which the issuer does not maintain a standard list of bond holders. Instead, each bond contains interest coupons that the bond holders send to the issuer on the dates when interest payments are due. The coupon bond is more easily transferable between investors.